By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
Throughout his high school career at Maple River, Aaron Norgren would occasionally attend wrestling matches at Minnesota State’s Bresnan Arena to watch the local college team compete.
He often dreamed of one day competing in that same arena and made it happen after his senior year by signing with the Mavericks. He went on to become a three-time NCAA Division II qualifier and a two-time All-American.
On Friday, near the end of MSU’s 24-10 victory over Northern State, the 184-pound Norgren made the final home appearance of his collegiate career. He finished in style, earning a 16-5 major victory over Jeb Clay to give MSU an insurmountable 24-3 lead.
“I watched my share of meets here growing up,” Norgren said afterward. “There were a lot of local guys on the team back then so I knew some of them. I always hoped I’d wrestle here some day.”
Norgren was actually one of three seniors for the Mavericks who had their Swan Song on Friday. Janesville’s Alex Folk will graduate but he wasn’t in the lineup. Madelia-Truman graduate Nathan Haynes also made his final home appearance, dropping a tight 4-3 decision to Chad Gibson at 197 pounds.
The Mavericks won seven of the first eight matches Friday to close out their dual-meet season with a 10-3 overall record and a 7-1 mark in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Beside Norgren, MSU received major decisions from Thomas Allen at 149 pounds and Cody Quinn at 165. Northern had just one bonus-point decision, a 16-3 verdict by No. 1-ranked heavyweight Matt Meuleners against Corby Running.
Although Norgren has had to battle through injuries this year he says he’s now 100 percent and is ready to finish the season strong.
“Right now is the best I’ve ever felt,” he said. “I’m going to win it. That’s my goal.”
As for walking off the mat at Bresnan Arena for the final time, Norgren said he’s not sad.
“I’ll be around. This place feels like home to me now.”
Minnesota State 24, Northern State 10
125—David Demo (MSU) dec. Anthony Bruno 5-0; 133—Alphonso Vruno (MSU) dec. Tyler Frost 4-1; 141—Ian Muirhead (NSU) dec. Nathan Hennes 8-2; 149—Thomas Allen (MSU) maj. dec. Grant Steen 17-6; 157—Sawyer Hoffman (MSU) dec. Gavin Larson 5-1; 165—Cody Quinn (MSU) maj. dec. Blake Lundgren 12-4; 174—Brendan Eichmann (MSU) dec. Anthony Navarro 10-6; 184—Aaron Norgren (MSU) maj. dec. Jeb Clay 16-5; 197—Chad Gibson (NSU) dec. Nathan Haynes 4-3; 285—Matt Meuleners (NSU) maj. dec. Corby Running 16-3.